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Getting There, But Still Missing the Point

June 5, 1998

"Americaís working families cannot afford another hatchet-job Republican Budget. U.S. schools are in worse shape than any other part of the nationís infrastructure."

(Washington) - Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) today opposed the Republican Budget. The Kasich plan, which calls for a $101 billion cut in non-defense discretionary programs over five years cuts far beyond the agreed upon floor of the 1997 Balanced Budget Agreement. "Americaís working families cannot afford another hatchet-job budget. The economy may be booming for some, but everyday people cannot withstand having the carpet pulled from under them," said McKinney. The Kasich plan cuts Medicare, Medicaid, education programs, environmental protection programs, programs that assist low-income families, and employment and job training opportunities.

McKinney supported the Democrats alternative budget offered as an amendment in the nature of a substitute offered by Rep. Spratt (D-SC.) saying, "The Blue Dogís proposal misses the point on Defense, but gets my vote for reserving benefits for Americaís working families and supporting tax initiatives such as the "Patient Bill of Rights Act"; a credit for those who purchase bonds to finance school modernization; an expansion of the child and dependent care tax credit with an new tax credit for businesses that provide child care services to their employees. "How long will our students be expected to learn and compete in overcrowded classrooms and temporary overflow shelters," continued McKinney. The GAO estimates that the combined cost of repairs and new construction to American schools will cost well over $200 billion. "I know I would much rather see money going to the reconstruction and expansion of the schools in my district so that students can be moved from temporary trailers, where they are now housed," continued McKinney.

While both the Kasich and Spratt proposals preserve defense spending, the real difference lies in the magnitude of the proposed tax cuts in the domestic budget and proposed plans for the projected $223 billion budget surplus over five years. The Republican plan includes a risky proposal that would allow Congress to use the anticipated $233 billion in budget surpluses on "private retirement accounts." "I canít support this premature venture concocted by the Republicans. We need to sure up Social Security and make sure that the fund remains solvent," commented McKinney. In Committee markup, every Democrat opposed this provision and voted instead that the budget surplus should be reserved until the Congress and the President enact comprehensive measures providing for the long-term solvency of Social Security, while preserving its core protections for present and future generations of American families.

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